BHP Billiton on the hunt for CEO Kloppers successor
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Marius Kloppers, CEO at BHP Billiton Ltd.

Marius Kloppers, CEO at BHP Billiton Ltd.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the largest mining company by market value, has started the search for a new chief executive officer who will replace its current CEO Kloppers. The search process is expected to take about two years.

In search for new CEO

The search for a successor to BHP CEO Marius Kloppers has already been started by the mining company. What is more, the hunt for a new chief executive officer, which is to replace BHP CEO Marius Kloppers, is being led by Jac Nasser. The company confirmed the search, underlying that it was part of an ongoing process. BHP Billiton Ltd. has noted the search for a new chief executive is one of the most vital as well as important task of any company as it will certainly affect both the company’s operations and its future in general.

However the company in the statement highlighted: "BHP Billiton's board has always ensured that it has a well-integrated, continual succession process in place for our most senior executives." In addition, the succession is expected to be smooth.

According to sources familiar with the matter, some investors have exhorted BHP Billiton Ltd. to show a succession plan as Marius Kloppers is to start his sixth year at the position of chief executive officer. But on the other side are those investors who see no need to replace the current BHP CEO. Paul Xiradis, managing director at Ausbil which owns shares in BHP Billiton Ltd., believes that 50-year-old Marius Kloppers has performed extremely well as chief executive officer.

Analysts also highlight that this is a rather risky time for chief executive officers of mining companies as stock values and commodity prices have been dropping. Charles Bradford, an analyst with Bradford Research, noted that any CEO of a natural resource company, which had seen a drop in its stock, would face a possibility of being replaced. However he underlined that BHP CEO Marius Kloppers was in a better position than others due to the company’s exposure to oil.

BHP CEO Kloppers

For the couple of months rumors have been circulating that BHP CEO Marius Kloppers is under threat. Even though BHP CEO Marius Kloppers led this major mining company through the global financial crisis, not everyone is satisfied with his performance. And despite the fact that Jac Nasser thanked BHP CEO Marius Kloppers for these good years, the company is on the hunt for the new CEO.

Supporters of the CEO replacement have been underlying that Marius Kloppers failed to close a full takeover of Rio Tinto. In addition, BHP CEO Marius Kloppers has been struggling with criticism for not closing the bid for Canada's Potash Corp. and failing to close a merger with Rio Tinto’s iron ore business. In addition, the company had spent as much as $20 billion on two shale gas takeovers in the United States just before gas prices dropped sharply.

Certainly some of these decisions have been only considered an embarrassment and potentially risky investments, but BHP CEO Marius Kloppers reasons with his opponents that some of the investment has been already yielding a good return.

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